Although originally built for and by mountain bikers, the 2.5-mile Mescal Trail is a relatively easy, mostly flat trail that makes for an easy going hike. Mescal is most likely named for the mountain it skirts and not the tequila. We must admit we’re fans of both this hike and the smoky beverage. This West Sedona trail is also even better after a fresh dusting of snow. When we hiked this trail one crisp winter morning, we were one of the few hikers on the trail. Hiking in Sedona is magical anytime of year, but there’s something especially pristine about tackling a trail after a snow storm.
We’ve long felt that Mescal is underrated as a hiking trail. Many hikers will only use this trail to access Devil’s Bridge or Boynton Canyon. But Mescal is a worthy hike in its own right. When we hike in the snowy weather, we’re typically searching for an easier trail that’s not hard to follow. Mescal is a relatively meandering trail that only ascends about 200 feet but also offers stellar red rock views. The trail starts off relatively flat, but at about 1 mile from the trailhead, you’ll enter a Red Rock bowl at the base of Mescal Mountain. You’ll see a trail marker that says difficult or extreme. Don’t worry about these signs though. They’re intended for mountain bikers. No matter what direction you pick, it’s easy for hikers. Although the extreme option is a slightly narrower trail. From that 1 mile marker, look forward to expansive views of the Secret Mountain Wilderness and vistas that stretch all the way to Courthouse Butte.
The single-track trail offers plenty of space to hike, and you’ll have no trouble staying on trail as it’s relatively flat. But snow can make the trail slick. When we hiked, there was a healthy dusting, but we could still see the trail. No matter how much snow has fallen, be sure to mind your footing. Turn around early if you don’t feel comfortable continuing on.
What we loved most about this trail were the views located throughout. Enjoy expansive skies, red rocks up close and the green trees all dusted with snow. It’s magical, and a rate site that you won’t forget anytime soon. Be sure to take time to really take in these breathtaking views while you’re on the trail. Mescal gradually heads downhill as it nears its ends at Deadman’s Pass. Turn around the way you came for a hike that’s just less than 6 miles.